Fancy logo outside

Address: 9F, No. 28, Xinzhan Road, Banqiao District (新北市板橋區新站路28號) (map)

Tel: (02) 2951-9818

MRT: Banqiao (Exit 2)

Hours: 11:00~22:00 (Mon to Fri), 11:00~22:30 (Sat), 11:00~22:00 (Sun)

Accepts: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Amex

Service Fee: 10%

Price: $$$

Almost Like Home

I’ve said before that finding good dim sum in Taiwan – at least something that compares to dim sum in Canada or Hong Kong – was quite difficult. Each and every time I’ve been to a dim sum place in Taipei, I was greeted with dim sum that was previously frozen, which means that the rice wrapper on most of the items had completely lost all “Q-ness” (chewiness would be the closest translation). So when my friend suggested we take my just-recovering-from-a-flu-self and head over to Xin Pu Yuan (website) on the ninth floor over at the Banqiao Mega City, I was bound to be skeptical. Boy, am I ever glad I dragged myself out of bed for this one.

Looks like they're baby friendly!

Once you enter, you’ll be greeted with the cashier’s desk on the left, followed by the BBQ meats stand, where you can see all their lovely meats on display, or chat it up with the butcher.

BBQ meats on the left

The décor takes your traditional Cantonese seafood restaurant furnishings and updates it with a more clean and modern white/brown/gold color scheme. You won’t find any red carpet with gold dragons and phoenices (phoenxi??) around here. It’s clean, pleasing to the eye, and a nice place to relax on a Sunday afternoon.

Inside is nice and clean

Now, the great thing about dim sum is the sheer variety of items available to you. You’ve got steamed delicacies, fried treats, roasted morsels, and sweets galore. However, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to order the things you’re used to ordering, no matter which restaurant you’re at. This makes it easier to compare the different restaurants as we have somewhat of a baseline. 🙂

The first thing that arrived was the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns ($90):

BBQ pork buns

The outside bun part was sufficiently fluffy and the BBQ pork inside was quite tasty as well. I appreciated the fact that it was neither too salty or too sweet. Here’s a shot of the inside:

Inside the BBQ pork bun

The Steamed Beef Balls with Vegetable ($80) were next. They were actually surprisingly large (I know there’s a joke in here somewhere…), comparable to the portions you’d get in Canada, and they were also quite good, as in not over-cooked. Of course, the main reason I love this dish so much is that you get to have Worcestershire sauce (go here for the pronunciation – I did as well) with it. It’s pictured on the right.

Steamed beef balls

The Steamed Rice Noodle Roll with Garlic Chive Shrimp ($150) were next on the list. This is a dish that really tests a dim sum restaurant. With the amount of rice noodle, it’s easy to tell if it’s been frozen – the non-chewy texture is a dead giveaway. Fortunately, it was adequately chewy, if a just a tad on the thick side.

Steamed rice noodle roll with shrimp

We also tried the Seafood  Soup Dumpling ($168), which is packed with shrimps, scallops and other seafood, all submerged in a seafood broth. If you’re a seafood fan, you should give this one a try as well.

Seafood soup dumpling

I’m not a big fan of Steamed Chicken Claw with Oyster Sauce ($90), but if’ you’re in to chowing down on feet, it’s there for you. My friend said they were not bad.

Steamed chicken claw

The Steamed Crab Roe and Shrimp Meat Siu Mai ($90) is another dim sum staple, and Xin Pu Yuan has done a good job with this one as well. I recommend getting a bit of hot sauce to go along with this one.

Siu Mai

One dish that isn’t all that common is the Pan Fried Turnip Cake with XO Sauce ($130). When we normally order turnip cake, it’s the Plain Jane pan fried version. However, it turns out that this version is far superior, especially if you like spicy food. If you’re spice-adverse, I’d stay away from this one, but if you take the heat, you’re in for a tasty treat! 🙂

Turnip cake with XO sauce

The final salty dish was the dim sum pièce de résistanceSteamed Shrimp and Vegetable Dumplings ($120). The wrapper was fortunately not too thick – something a lot of places get wrong. However, we were a bit disappointed to see ground up shrimp rather than whole shrimp inside. The taste was good, but whole shrimp texture would have been better. Still worth ordering in my book.

Steamed shrimp dumplings

From here, we tried two of the desserts – including one I had never previously had. The first was your standard Deep Fried Sesame Ball ($90).

Sesame balls

This one is filled with your red bean filling, and was very (I mean very) sweet. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, go nuts, but it was a bit sweet for my liking.

Inside the sesame ball

The second one was called Fried Pumpkin with Custard Paste Balls ($90), and wow, was it a treat.

Yummy pumpkin custard balls

Crispy on the outside with a hot (very hot) custard filling on the inside, this was the closest to Lau Sa Bao I’ve had so far in Taiwan. The flavor is wonderful, but I would wait a full two minutes before digging in, and even then, I would be careful. The custard paste is a lot more watery that you would think, and if you bite into it right when it comes to the table, I would imagine a hospital visit for a burned mouth would be in order. My advice would be to wait until it cools down somewhat – patience, in this case, is most certainly a virtue.

Careful, it's hot!

So did you like it or what?

Dim sum is one of those things I really miss from Canada, and Xin Pu Yuan has hit most of the high notes. Everything tastes very fresh, and while a little on the pricey side (expect to pay anywhere from $400~700 per person), it’s a nice end-of the-week treat. You can sit there for couple hours and sip on your tea, while taking in the yummy food and fancy décor. I would rate this a solid 4 Yums. Just watch out for those ultra-hot Fried Pumpkin with Custard Paste Balls – you’ve been warned. – TY

4 Yums

 

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